NORFOLK (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-Class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) hosted a blood drive July 28 at the ships' Floating Accommodation Facility (FAF) in support of the Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP).
The ASBP provides blood products to service members, veterans and their family members, wherever and whenever, in times of need. As a joint operation among the military services, the ASBP has many components working together to collect, process, and store, distribute, and transfuse blood worldwide.
"It is extremely important that service members donate blood" said Tiffany Cherry, an ASBP representative. "We use the blood to send to our troops overseas, whether they are fighting in Afghanistan or Iraq. The blood that is collected after we deliver it to the troops, is used for dependents and family members that are ill."
According to ASBP's website, blood donors can save three lives with a single donation. By giving a little of yourself, your donation gives sick or injured troops and their families a second chance at life. Donations can save a service member injured in action, a child with cancer, or a family member in need of heart surgery
Not everyone can donate blood for one reason or another, so before you roll up your sleeve, make sure you meet the following guidelines:
* Weigh at least 110 pounds
* Be at least 17 years of age (age may vary by state, contact your local ASBP blood donor center for details)
* Have been feeling well for at least three days
* Be well hydrated
* Have eaten something prior to donating
If you meet all the above requirements, the ASBP encourages people of all blood types to donate.
"People should really try to donate blood when they can, even if it hurts," said Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Dean Washington. "Being uncomfortable for the few seconds it takes to donate is worth it in the long run when it can save someone's life."
With 41 sign-ins, and 31 donors, George Washington Sailors did their part to save a life, and that alone makes the event a success.
"My favorite part about volunteering is knowing that we are helping people and saving lives," said Hospitalman Taylor Gatlin.
This blood drive was the last one George Washington Sailors participated in before the ship transited to Newport News, Virginia, Aug. 4, for a scheduled refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH). RCOH is a nearly four-year project performed only once during a carrier's 50-year service life that includes refueling of the ship's two nuclear reactors, as well as significant repair, upgrades and modernization.
For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.